Netflix's new comedy Living With Yourself stars Paul Rudd as a man who undergoes an experimental therapy treatment that is, in reality, a cloning procedure. The actor, who will be starring in his first TV role after more than 25 years in Hollywood, says he was never against television per se, he just happened to get more film offers.
"I didn't differentiate film or TV. I just looked at the project and the story and the character. Obviously, the idea of playing two parts was appealing because I'd never done anything like this, but I just liked the scripts," Rudd, who has had recurring roles on Friends, Parks and Recreation and Wet Hot American Summer, told The Hollywood Reporter at the series premiere in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Rudd follows in the footsteps of other renowned film actors, like Nicole Kidman and Jessica Lange, who have made the jump to the small screen. "It's such an interesting moment in time, where there is so much content all across the board in movies and television," he said. Adding that in the end, most actors just want to be involved in projects they feel passionately about and are challenging, therefore, he actively seeks out good material.
The Ant-Man actor, who has increasingly taken on the role of writer and producer, co-wrote the screenplays for Ant-Man and The Wasp. He is also the executive producer of Living With Yourself. "In the last several years, I've been involved in projects earlier, when they're just starting off, so as a result, they turn into very collaborative efforts," said Rudd, who believes being more actively involved in front and behind the camera allows him to feel more connected to a project.
In his new show, he does double duty, playing two versions of the same character, which creator Tim Greenberg jokingly referred to as "a f*cking nightmare" to film logistically.
"Technically it was a pain and having to shoot it multiple times was a pain. Paul did such a good job and had such control over his performance, and just mentally was able to remember not just the technical things, but all of the things he normally has to remember," Greenberg told THR. "He's playing two characters and we're shooting it all at the same time, and we block-shot the whole thing so everything was out of order."
Aisling Bea, who plays Rudd's wife in the series, said her co-star’s performances were so convincing that she felt like she was acting alongside two different actors. "He wasn't doing anything Daniel Day-Lewis-y; he wasn't walking around like, 'Call me something else!' But just with his posture and his energy, you'd know just which one he was being," she told THR. "And in between those, he was Paul, so I did feel like there were almost three of them."
Although Rudd is the star of the series, Bea says that she was intrigued by Living With Yourself because her character is much more than just the main character's wife. She adds that her character may appear to simply be a supporting cast member in the first two episodes, but she eventually gets to tell the story from her perspective. She was aware of this change since she was given all eight scripts before she accepted the role.
"Sometimes what happens is you get, 'Oh, we're going to make that part bigger once we get into the series,' and you're like, 'Are you, though?' You can't trust it. Tim had already made this beautiful episode all from her point of view, and sometimes as women, we just have to get used to an actress doing a rolling-her-eyes thing and imagining what separate life she had, whereas in this we actually get to see things from her point of view," she said.
Living With Yourself, which also stars Alia Shawkat, Karen Pittman and Desmin Borges, begins streaming on Netflix today.